How to wear a face mask properly to protect your loved ones

Not sure how to wear a face mask properly? No problem. We've got all the information you need.

how to wear a face mask? pile of homemade face masks on table
(Image credit: Getty)

Keys? Check! Phone? Check! Purse? Check? Face mask? Oh wait! 2020 has turned the world upside down in many ways, and has brought with it a brand new everyday essential.

Enter the face mask. Guidelines vary from country to country, but the general consensus is that wearing one will help protect you, and others, from catching Covid-19.

According to the World Health Organisation, ‘masks should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission and save lives.’ In short, while wearing a mask doesn’t guarantee immunity, it will play a small part in helping to slow the spread of the virus.

But it’s not just as simple as popping on a mask. You’ll need to wear it properly to maximise its effectiveness. 

How to wear a face mask properly: 4 simple steps

To make sure your mask is working as hard as possible (and make any potential discomfort worthwhile) follow the following four rules. Remember to: 

  • Wash your hands before putting your mask on and taking it off
  • Touch only the ties or bands when putting your mask on - not the mask itself
  • Ensure your mask covers your mouth, chin and nose
  • Wash your resuable face mask after every use

This final step is an extra important one, as washing your reusable face mask after every wear will help banish any lingering germs.

How to wash a reusable face mask

According to a poll by YouGov, just 13% of reusable mask wearers are washing them frequently enough, and in the right away. Combine that with the worrying stat that 56% of people are wearing single-use masks more than once, and it’s bad news in the fight against a virus that thrives on poor hygiene. 

The good news is that washing your reusable mask is easy. The two most important factors are hot water (60° or higher) and a soapy detergent. You can either pop your mask in the washing machine with your normal wash, or hand wash separately. 

Either way you’ll need to allow some time for the mask to dry (or risk removing an almost entire face of make-up in one swoop) so it pays to have a stock of at least 2 or 3 masks to wear on rotation. 

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on